Coindesk has released its latest report ‘Who really uses Bitcoin?’ in a bid to dispel, or compound, some of the myths and legends around the digital currency.
Who do we think of when we talk about bitcoin users? Is it the ideological libertarian, wanting to subvert traditional finance? The speculator, wanting to profit from price movements? Or the thrill- seeking drug user, getting their goodies through illicit black markets? Media reports and forum conversations have doubtless portrayedall three. But are such stereotypes appropriate?
The results are, well, largely to be expected given ongoing criticism laid at the door of the supposedly distributed and democratic cryptocurrency.
In a survey of 4,000 Bitcoin owners worldwide, 91.8 percent defined themselves as male, 72.5 percent said they are white and 65.8 percent declared themselves a techie. Almost half of Bitcoin owners surveyed said they live in the US.
Interestingly for less-well-publicized diversity issues, users also had the option to identify as transgender or decline to name their gender, but those people made up less than 3 percent of overall respondents.
More encouraging in the bid to dispel Bitcoin as a rich man’s game, the level of income of respondents was pretty fairly distributed, from those who earn less than $25,000 to those who make more than $200,000.
Education level, however, was skewed slighty towards those with an undergrad degree or higher.
Unfortunately, rather than representing a positive alternative to cash or a great technology to many owners, most people surveyed said they brought Bitcoin as an investment.
Here’s how most people got hold of their Bitcoin.
And here’s how much each person owns, with only around one in 10 claiming to be heavily invested.
Half of respondents said they have used Bitcoin for online shopping, with just over 10 percent saying they’d also used them to shop in person, while 35 percent said they’d never used them in this way.
The most popular things to buy among this audience were, not surprisingly, tech gadgets and digital content.
Coindesk, which produced the report, has urged the Bitcoin community to embrace diversity if they want it to survive and lays out in detail a number of areas for improvement.
Market adoption is one of the key goals for many in the bitcoin community. Expanding it beyond a niche base of users is key to solving many of its problems, not least of which is liquidity. New markets typically contain new kinds of people, from different demographics.
But it’s not dead yet, despite the many Bitcoin Obituaries written since it first launched.